Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Book Report – Youth Culture 101

Oh my, it has been over a month since the last book report I did. These last two book’s (Youth Culture 101 and Without a Doubt) have been a hard read for me. Well worth it but still very hard.

Walt Mueller’s book Youth Culture 101 made me smile, nod my head in agreement, get angry, become saddened, and it made me cry. I could share a lot about this book (I highlighted different sentences and statements in over 50 pages) but I’m going to stick to my “two key thoughts that really jump out at me” rule.

The first thought really wasn’t about youth culture but about a wise man (Walt) - who has been through most of the fathering of adolescents - sharing with a young man (me) who is just starting out with fathering an adolescent (My daughter will turn 12 this year , be in 6th grade, and in our middle school group). Walt shared many important thoughts and sum-ups in the last chapter of this book. But the one thing he wrote that really jumped out at me was this, “I’ve found that my investment of time in knowing God’s Word has been the very thing that’s guided me through the deep waters of parenting.” As a soon-to-be father of a full-fledged adolescent the Word of God becomes even more critical in my life. I praise God He was already doing that in my life when He took me through “My Historic Retreat.”

The other thought was how he dealt with media. His research was broking down into digestible chunks of data that was not easy to read but defiantly important to know. I knew media is a big player in kids lives but the magnitude and the closeness of its power hit me hard just over a month ago. I surveyed my 11-14 year old kids to see what they spend most of their time on. Hands down the kids are watching TV. Over 50% of the kids in my group watch over 10 hrs a week of TV. Walt said it well, “Media is not only at their [adolescents] fingertips: it’s woven in and through the fabric of who they are.” Media is and will continue to influence every aspect of our adolescent’s life. Media is creating things like the “False view of reality” or “the boring life syndrome” in our kids lives. We can’t ignore it or allow it to just go on influencing out kids lives - we need to engage it. “The more aware we are of the media scene as a whole, the more easily we can guide our teenagers through these influences on behavior and lifestyle choices.” Walt summed it up best this way, “Now is the time…to teach teenagers how to control the media, rather than allowing the media to control them.”

I have already used different parts of the data in this book in many of my teachings to kids. I’m sure I will expose my sponsors and parents to more of the data. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” James 1:5. I know that I need more wisdom from God so that I can be the best father and middle school pastor that I can be and Youth Culture 101 is some of that wisdom from God.

No comments:

Twitter Updates